Governor Baker and other elected officials ignore call for independent investigation
BOSTON (12/9/2020) – The United States District Court of Massachusetts, on Tuesday, December 8, 2020, denied the City of Boston’s motion to dismiss the wrongful death lawsuit brought by Jennifer Root Bannon, the Special Person Representative for the Estate of her late brother Juston Root. On February 7, 2020, five Boston police officers and one Massachusetts state trooper shot Juston Root over 30 times while standing about five feet from him, ultimately killing him.
Jennifer Root commented on Judge Stearn’s decision denying the City of Boston’s motion, stating, “We look forward to a trial so that all the facts will be revealed and the City of Boston and those that killed Juston can be held accountable. It took about 3 seconds for the six law enforcement officers to shoot Juston over 30 times, yet after more than ten months since Juston was killed, the Boston Police Department-FDIT Team has yet to issue the final report on their investigation. I keep asking myself whether the delay in issuing their investigative report is designed to protect the BPD and the individual police officers rather than to reveal the truth.”
Juston was killed while on the ground, bleeding profusely from an early gunshot wound, he was clutching his chest, and in a semi-conscious state. At the time of his death, Juston was not brandishing a weapon of any kind. An eyewitness and former EMT who attempted to administer aid to Juston before law enforcement officers arrived at the scene, later described how Juston was in extremis and posed no danger as the police officers arrived. Immediately after the shooting, the officers were captured on a police body camera video congratulating one another with vulgar language and warning each other to refrain from talking until they spoke with their union representative.
The Root family has repeatedly requested an independent investigation into the shooting. They and their lawyers, Mark Berthiaume and Gary Greenberg, from the law firm Greenberg Traurig, have made multiple written requests to Governor Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey and Mayor Marty Walsh, for the appointment of an independent investigation, starting with a September 18th letter and an October 23rd follow-up letter. Both have gone unanswered from all parties.
In support of their request, The Root family has identified many misleading and inaccurate statements and omissions in the report issued by the Norfolk District Attorney as to whether criminal charges should be brought against any of the officers involved in the Juston’s death which occurred in Norfolk County. Only 30 days after the shooting, the Norfolk DA’s Office issued a short report exonerating the officers of any criminal responsibility. The Root family has pointed to numerous flaws in the Norfolk DA’s report, including:
Evan Root, Juston’s father, commented on the failure of elected officials and law enforcement to respond to the family’s demand for an independent investigation, asking, “How is it possible that these elected leaders can turn a deaf ear to our request? The forensic evidence and the statements of the eyewitness demonstrate why justice for Juston requires an independent investigation. To date, none of these elected officials have even given our family the courtesy of a response to their letters. Where are our elected leaders when the truth may be inconvenient?”
Approximately 2,000 fellow citizens have joined the Root family’s demand for an independent investigation, which they have demonstrated by signing a petition, found here: www.change.org/JusticeforJuston.
Those who wish to support the Root family can sign the petition and learn more at https://justonroot.com/.
Members of the press who would like to receive updates about Juston's case can email JusticeforJuston@gmail.com